2
Are there atheist links which I can use as responses to religious e-mails from family members?

I am an Atheist but most of my family are Christians and love to forward delusional emails in the name of Jesus Christ. Short of being rude and blocking family members, are there any kind of atheist links I can reply back to them with? Thanks!

Posted: May 2nd 2008

SmartLX www

Considering the effect unsolicited emails are having on you, do you really think sending counter-attacks is going to have any effect on your relatives?

I would first make sure I knew whether they were sending me the religious emails in order to win me back to the flock, or just leaving me on the mailing list with all the other religious relatives. Are you being targeted, or just not considered? If they’re not really after a conversion, I wouldn’t worry about it. You could just block Christ’s own name from your email.

If you really are being targeted for reclamation for Jesus, the emails are a bad sign. Your relatives want you to be a Christian but they don’t really know how to go about it, so they’re essentially taking propaganda pot shots and hoping something will strike you. I wouldn’t respond in kind. I’d ask some of your closer relatives what’s going on, and start a direct discussion.

No need to be aggressive about this. Just make it clear you’re willing to have this out in the open. Either they’ll engage you properly, or they should let it drop.

Posted: May 4th 2008

See all questions answered by SmartLX

bitbutter www

Ask yourself you want to enter into a discussion with your family about their religion, or whether you just want them to stop sending you religious chain emails. If it’s the latter you can try contacting your family members using this excellent anonymous service.

On the other hand, If you want to talk with them about their beliefs, and yours, be aware that you are unlikely to change their minds in a dramatic way. Despite this though, explaining your view to someone else is a good chance to clarify your thoughts on a topic, and if you present your case well, you may 'sow some seeds of doubt’. If you choose this way, listen carefully to what your family members will say, and even though their beliefs seem very far from yours, keep in mind the possibility that you may be wrong.

I think the best way to begin is to let your family members know that you’d like to discuss religious belief, and lack of it. Ask them if they feel comfortable doing that. If they are interested, one way to begin might be to explain why you can’t believe the stories of Christianity, and how this makes you feel somewhat alienated when the religious emails arrive.

There are a few things you can do to make sure the person you’re talking with doesn’t feel as though they’re being attacked. A person who does not feel as though he has to defend himself will listen more carefully to what you have to say.

  • Always speak from your own perspective (“I feel as though”, “I think that”, “I don’t understand why” etc.)
  • Avoid generalising or speaking in unqualified absolutes (eg. “Christianity is dangerous”)
  • Try to avoid speaking negatively about people.

Good luck.

Posted: May 3rd 2008

See all questions answered by bitbutter

 

Is your atheism a problem in your religious family or school?
Talk about it at the atheist nexus forum